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52 Catch Up: I, Vampire

I Vampire with Review52 Catch Up is a series devoted to looking at issues from DC’s New 52 and seeing how they’re faring now that they’re underway, why they’re worth reading (or not), and places we hope they will go in time.




When Mary Queen of Blood gathers a vampire army to take control of the world, her former lover, Andrew Bennett, a 500-year-old vampire who just wants to live in peace, is the only one with the means and knowledge of stopping her.





Previously on I, Vampire: Covering Issues #1-#11

Tainted Love (#1-#5)


Andrew Bennett and Mary Seward are vampires and lovers; however, Andrew refuses to take human life and kills his own kind while Mary believes vampires are meant to inherit the Earth.  Mary takes on the name Queen of Blood and raises a vampire army in secret and unleashes them around the world.  Andrew realizes what she’s done and starts to hunt them down but walks right into an ambush.  Mary offers Andrew one more chance to join her, but he refuses and slays his way out of the ambush. Needing somewhere safe to recover from his injuries, Andrew arrives at the door of John Troughton, a man he saved from a vampire attack in San Francisco in 1979, and has since been one of his closest friends.  After healing a bit, the two head out on the road, following the leads Andrew’s psychic connection to Mary gives them.  They enter an abandoned building where a teenage girl vampire hunter named Tig nearly kills Andrew, but a few words from Andrew convinces her to join them instead.  They find a symbol of a bat and the words “See you there, lover,” written in blood on the wall.

The three of them arrive in Columbus, OH.  Andrew goes off looking for blood from the medical waste bins and comes across another vampire doing the same.  Andrew insists they can control their urges and demonstrates he can access his vampire powers of shapeshifting and still control his hunger.  The other vampire does the same but feels a power rush and transforms at the local bar and grabs a woman to eat.  Unfortunately, John Constantine, a hunter of the supernatural, gets up from the bar and makes a point of trying to end the vampire.  Andrew intervenes and chokes Constantine until he passes out. Realizing he’s lost all control, the other vampire gives Andrew a locket before allowing Andrew to kill him.  Inside the locket is a picture of Tig when she was younger.  When Andrew, John, and Tig arrive in Gotham, Andrew investigates a train that arrived filled with bodies; however, he’s not the only one.  He runs into Batman who fails to subdue Andrew, having no knowledge of what Andrew is.  Andrew, John, and Tig follow Andrew’s link to Mary to the Gotham courthouse and Batman follows behind.  The four decide to work together and descend into the courthouse’s basement where temporary jail cells are kept and Mary has started to create new troops.

Rise of the Vampires (#6-#8 and Justice League Dark #7-#8)

The four of them arrive to an army of vampires.  Andrew picks out the sire, a young boy, and though Batman slows him down, he is unable to stop Andrew from killing him.  Killing the sire reverts the vampires who had been changed less then 72 hours ago back into humans.  John and Tig help to get the humans out, but Tig doubles back with the news that killing a sire reverts others back into humans.  She ignores the 72-hour part and decapitates Andrew when he wasn’t expecting it, killing him.  This act summons Cain, primordial evil and father of vampires, whom Andrew’s unlife was keeping contained.

Everything goes to hell and Gotham is under siege.  Batman leaves to go put out other fires, leaving Tig and John to fend for themselves, but the vampires prove unkillable.  A group of mystics led by Madame Xanadu (Justice League Dark) arrive to assist.  Xanadu goes in a trance while Constantine and Deadman go to retrieve Andrew back from death.  Mary is displeased with this turn of events, as Cain has no use for her and has taken her vampire army away from her.  Constantine and Deadman arrive back with Andrew who, thanks to a deal Xanadu made, has become superpowered.  Andrew dusts all the vampires then reforms them under his control with a single thought.  He then decapitates Cain and makes out with Mary.  Andrew gives a whispered instruction to John, and then, together again, Andrew and Mary leave with their vampire army.

Van Helsings (#9-Ongoing)

One month later, Tig and John have traveled to Germany to meet up with the Van Helsings, the organization of vampire hunters.  The Van Helsings are a paranoid lot and not only draw guns on them but then drug and interrogate them.  John reveals that Andrew is in command of the vampires and wants to hold a peace conference, but the Van Helsing leader takes this as an opportunity to take out over half of the world’s vampires in one operation.  The Van Helsings load up and head for Utah.

Andrew and Mary are in the deserts of Utah with their vampire army.  Andrew is keeping everyone on a tight leash, not allowing anyone to feed on humans, and it’s starting to wear on the others, but his superpowers allow him to maintain control.  He heads into town to get more cows for the others to feed on, but some of the locals try to scare him out of town. In response, Andrew bursts their heads and reforms them in a second, leaving them bewildered and unwilling to continue the argument.  When he returns to camp, the other vampires are restless, unable to leave of their own accord and unwilling to follow Andrew. When Andrew sees this, he provides an open challenge.  Mary accepts and the two fight to a stalemate for control of the army.  That’s when dozens of helicopters and planes appear on the horizon and drop napalm on all the vampires.  Van Helsing soldiers drop from the helicopters and start to fight.  The vampires kill hundreds, but they soon start to rise back up as zombies.

Andrew realizes the Van Helsings are technically mummies, as their undeath is powered by Egyptian necklaces, which, when destroyed, deanimate the bodies. Dozens of starving vampires start to bite the bodies and become “zombie vampire vampire hunters” and start to attack their own kind. Meanwhile, back aboard one of the Van Helsings’ planes, John and Tig were left tied up and abandoned when all the Van Helsings jumped out. Tig manages to get free and thinks enough to turn on the autopilot before freeing John but not enough to know what an autopilot actually does. The plane crashes and then a bomb aboard goes off. Van Helsing explains to Andrew that the sound of the explosion was his friends being killed. Andrew loses it and rips Van Helsing apart limb from limb before piecing him back together to do it again. John and Tig arrive and John puts Van Helsing out of his misery, telling Andrew not to give in to his darker nature. Andrew freezes the entire massive battle with a thought, and John and Tig start to move through, grabbing all of the Egyptian charms. Meanwhile, several of the Van Helsing zombies moved off to bring “Reinforcements” and have already infected the nearby city and are moving back towards the desert.

High Points

Jesus Christ Supervampire: This could really fall into both categories.  When Andrew came back with god powers, I was initially frustrated, but, as a means to change up the series and keep things fresh, it works.  This change in pace is most worth it due to Tig’s description of the new Andrew (Jesus Christ Supervampire) and for seeing Andrew do bada– things like dust a million vamps and put them back together or explode two guys’ heads and immediately piece them back together.

Vampires vs. Zombies: Again, I, Vampire does epic well.  The Van Helsings as a psychotic vampire hunting organization who also wants to hunt down superheroes is a cool idea, and the fact that they are zombie commandos even more so.

Low Points

Naked Power: Granted, it is done a lot more tastefully than in most comics, but I still had to wonder why Andrew had to be shirtless during many of his fight scenes or why Mary strips down and shows off her tattoos before a fight, or before giving a speech, or before anything really. It makes perfect sense why she stopped bothering to take off and put on the trench coat after the first few issues.  Overall, nakedness is covered up with shadows and is not sexualized so much as it just is.

Batman and Justice League Dark: Readers of 52 Catch Up will know I’m not a fan of crossovers or, more specifically, when a story arc insists that I buy another comic’s issues to complete it.  What makes I, Vampire worse about it is there is no point to having Batman or the Justice League Dark in the book, and jumping back and forth to the JL Dark books just felt like I was wasting time and money, as the bulk of the story was still told in I, Vampire.

Follow the Damn Rules!: Vampires at a certain age are immortal, unless a teenage girl cuts their heads off.  The sun dampens a vampire’s powers, unless plot demands it.  I, Vampire sets its own vampire rules but then throws them out the window frequently, and if there’s one thing you want to be consistent about in a vampire story, it’s the mythology and rules that govern their lives.

Looking Ahead

Andrew’s Power: Andrew is now one of the most powerful characters in the DCU.  While he may not be using his abilities in recent issues of Justice League Dark, he makes use of them quite frequently in I, Vampire, to the point I’d even say he abuses them.  Whether these powers lead to Andrew’s turn to the dark side, bring salvation to vampires, or are taken away from Andrew to preserve the balance, we’ll have to wait and see.

Tig: For a girl Andrew and John randomly picked up, she’s been an awful lot of trouble. After her mistake of killing Andrew and summoning Cain, Tig seems content to follow the lead of the others for now, but it’s inevitable that she’ll do something else, maybe even world threatening again, to mess everything up.

Vampire Nation: Andrew’s first attempt at building a vampire nation may have epically failed, but there’s nothing saying he won’t try again. What will the fallout be if half the vampire population is wiped out and stays that way following the battle with the Van Helsings?



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